White Gold Or Platinum?

One question we are often asked by clients is “what’s the difference between platinum and 18ct white gold?”

These two metals are superficially quite similar, but there are a few key differences which we’ve summarised below.

1. Colour

Platinum is a naturally white metal, with a faint grey hint to it. Gold is a yellow metal, but when alloyed with silver and palladium it can be made to look white. The exact colour of 18ct white gold varies depending on the relative proportions of these two alloys. We use a ‘high palladium’ 18ct white gold which is very white in colour, and almost indistinguishable from platinum when highly polished. More traditionally white gold has had a slight yellow hue it, and so jewellers often plate white gold jewellery with rhodium to make it look whiter.

2. Purity

We use only platinum 950, the highest standard for fine jewellery. This means that the platinum is 95% pure, with just 5% alloy.  Some other jewellers use platinum 900 and platinum 850, which are 90% and 85% pure respectively. 18ct white gold on the other hand is 75% pure, with the silver and palladium alloys making up the other 25%.

2. Strength

Platinum has a higher tensile strength than gold, which gives it an advantage when you want to create very delicate structures in jewellery.  Claw settings, for example, can be made more delicate in platinum than they can in gold.

3.Wear and Tear

Both metals will require occasional maintenance, but in neither case is it anything to worry about. All jewellery can become scuffed with wear and tear over time. As platinum loses its shine, the hint of grey becomes more obvious, but this nothing that a quick polish won’t fix. With white gold jewellery, if it’s been rhodium plated, that plate will wear away eventually, revealing the colour of the white gold beneath. If this happens, it is easy to get a new rhodium plate applied.

4. Scarcity

Platinum is much much rarer than 18ct white gold. All of the platinum in the entire world would easily fit in the average home!

5. Density

Platinum is one and a half times as dense as 18ct white gold, so a ring made of platinum will feel heavier than the same ring made in 18ct white gold.

6. Price

Platinum is more expensive than 18ct white gold.  The impact on the price of a ring will depend on how much metal is needed by a particular design, but broadly speaking a platinum ring is likely to cost several hundred pounds more than a corresponding ring in 18ct white gold.

If you have any questions about any of the points above, we’d be delighted to help, so please feel free to post a question below or to contact us.

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